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Ike Opara named 2017 MLS Defender of the Year

Real Salt Lake   v Sporting Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 29: Ike Opara #3 of Sporting Kansas City in action during the game against Real Salt Lake at Children’s Mercy Park on April 29, 2017 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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They like Ike.

They being the voters, as Sporting KC defender Ike Opara has been named 2017 MLS Defender of the Year.

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Opara, 28, has been rumored for a USMNT call-up this January after averaging 2.3 interceptions, 1.7 tackles, and a sixth-best .9 offsides drawn per game in MLS this season. He also pitched in three goals for KC.

The Wake Forest product played his first three MLS seasons with San Jose before a 2012 trade to KC.

Opara is the first SKC defender to claim the honor since Matt Besler in 2012, and joins Jimmy Conrad and current boss Peter Vermes as KC players to claim the honor.

Winning 28 percent of the vote, Opara beat out Justin Morrow, Kendall Waston, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Besler, and Jovein Jones.

Follow @NicholasMendola